DC dispatch: Saturday, Jan. 21
What a difference a day makes.
After a Friday that left both protestors and police bruised and bloodied – and saw motorists and pedestrians screaming for relief from road closures and barricades – it all seemed to evaporate into the foggy morning mist of Saturday.
Washington, D.C. police said that more than 200 protestors were arrested yesterday afternoon when largely peaceful protests following Donald Trump’s inauguration descended into violence near Franklin Square.
Rock-throwing protestors injured six police officers during brief but intense clashes that also included several small fires, the vandalization of vehicles and destruction of some storefronts.
But today, an altogether different mood prevailed; most roads and bridges that had been closed to traffic were reopened, as crews worked throughout the night to dismantle and remove the metal fences and concrete partitions that created a massive security perimeter around the core of the city.
All this came just in time for yet another day of demonstrations – demonstrations that couldn’t have been more different than those of the day before.
The 2017 Women’s March on Washington wasn’t slated to begin until 10 a.m., but by 8 this morning, large knots of pedestrians – identifiable by their pink attire – began striding towards the event, some walking from as far as Arlington, Virginia across the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
It was wholly apparent even in those early hours that the attendance of the march would exceed estimates by police and organizers; no quarter of the district was untouched by the presence of men, women and children of all ages and colors, toting signs and banners, or wearing colorful costumes.
Some had come from across the region, the country or even the world to protest what they said were Trump’s policy priorities that could endanger the health and equality of women and LGBT groups.
By the end of the march – which began with a star-studded lineup of speakers who riled up a cheek-to-jowl crowd behind the Smithsonian Institution on Constitution Ave. for over three hours – there weren’t even whispers of the violence or confrontations with law enforcement like the ones yesterday.
Local media estimated the crowd at half a million; notably, the only things that crowd threw around were phrases like “excuse me,” “sorry,” and “thank you for your service” to the legions of law enforcement personnel lining the route.